Last week Endaba attended the Omni-Channel Retailing Conference in Hong Kong. The event aims to explain, propel and predict key changes in the retail environment, particularly in terms of the relationship between digital and physical in omnichannel retailing. The ‘new normal’ in the retail world has immense complexities, and the conference addressed the pressure on retailers from changing consumer expectations and behaviours. The market in Asia is particularly interesting, with the ever-changing Chinese consumer and economy. IBM, KPMG, Practicology and VIP.com were just some of the businesses who spoke at the event and took a closer look at how companies are adapting to the pressures of omnichannel retailing.
One of the Big Four auditors, KPMG interestingly looked at the new way to run a retail business; a demand-driven supply chain. They laid out the steps to laying out the path towards a demand-driven supply chain:
1. Align the supply chain with the business
2. Improve visibility
3. Instill flexibility and agility
4. Organise for success
5. Address customer segments
KPMG pointed out that the emergence of new sourcing destinations will require a rethink of procurement strategy!
KPMG addressed the ‘greener focus’ of companies; a hot topic amongst retailers. They addressed the fact that consumers want to know exactly where and how their products have been produced and the impact of this. KPMG predict an upcoming trend to be a barcode or QR code that consumers could scan and see these details, both on and offline.
“Today’s leading capabilities will be tomorrow’s customer expectations”
American technology and consulting organisation, IBM took a look at the challenge of consistent store execution and empowerment of associates to meet customer expectations. Retailers in emerging markets are catching and surpassing mature market retailers, as often their structures are more flexible, allowing them to respond to trends faster and more efficiently. All retailers are seeking to improve their customers’ seamless shopping experience in 4 key areas: consistency, content, contextual and convenience.
Forward-thinking multichannel and ecommerce consultants, Practicology highlighted the importance of customer experience to the omni-channel presence. They looked at ways in which brands are focusing on this:
Victoria Beckham London Flagship:
– iPad payment anywhere on the shop floor
– No tills in the store
– Digital receipts
– In-store seating
– Personal shopping suite
– Events space
– Branches stay open 7 days a week, 362 days a year, 8am-8pm
– Dog friendly branches and they refund new and existing Metro Bank customers when they rehouse a cat or dog fro Battersea cats and dogs home.
Practicology also addressed the flaws of social media conversation as it seems to have a missing piece with it being a predominantly one-sided conversation. A company often cannot follow up or carry on with conversations they start on social media; does this leave it a challenging aspect of omni-channel to get right?
Leading Chinese ecommerce platform VIP.com focussed on the ‘new female’ in China. Women in China are more independent shoppers than ever, as they have become significantly more financially independent and empowered. 53% of women own their own credit cards, and 78% of women make the purchase decision of groceries. Interestingly, 91% of women are the joint breadwinner in their household, showing the independence that the ‘new female’ has. There has also been a shift in female shopping habits as they not only purchase because of “needs”, but 60% admit to ‘window shopping’ online even though they don’t need anything!
“The Omni-Channel Retailing Conference was a fantastic event where they picked up on key strategies and trends for the market, particularly demand-driven supply chain and their focus on the customer experience. Asia is a challenging market, particularly at the moment, and the speakers really pinpointed how to face this difficult time”, Annie Chiang, Head of Research APAC, The Endaba Group